Inside the Barnett Bank and Laura Trio

April 5, 2014 65 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville takes a look inside a historic collection of buildings in the heart of downtown: The Barnett National Bank and Laura Trio buildings. (originally published June 4, 2010) Remind yourself what the buildings have been like for more than a decade just before they get redeveloped! Congratulations Downtown!

Bisbee Building

47 West Forsyth Street
Date: 1908-1909
Architect: Henry J. Klutho
Builders: Southern Ferro Concrete Company and W.T. Hadlow & Company

This building was originally constructed to be only twenty-six feet wide, one-half of its present width. The novelty of its being Jacksonville's first "skyscraper" made the office space highly sought after, and the building was completely rented before construction was finished. Thus the owner, William A. Bisbee, directed the architect H.J. Klutho to double the size of the building. The east wall of the original narrow tower was removed and an additional vertical section was added, resulting in its present configuration. The ten-story building was Florida's first reinforced-concrete frame high-rise office building.  According to Klutho, this system was so new that the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company refused to make a construction loan until full engineering data were submitted, and their own architect was dispatched to Jacksonville to go over the figures.  The Forsyth Street facade is faced with polished limestone and terra-cotta, and features broad plate glass "Chicago-style" windows, a copper cornice, and various abstract geometric ornaments.  This building is an early example of Klutho's affinity for the high-rise architectural concepts that were pioneered in Chicago.

Source: Page 60, Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage Landmarks For The Future

NEXT PAGE: The Florida Life Building.

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